Thursday, February 23, 2017

Sharpe Park and Bowman Bay

Noriko, Al, Kirk, Melanie, Linda, Ward, Mikey, Peggy (and me)
A smallish number of the Senior Traiblazers were introduced to a new hike today, this one on Fidalgo Island near Deception Pass. This is one of our normal winter hiking areas, and we usually make it an excursion with several hikes in the Bowman Bay area, but today we started out with a new (to us) hike in Sharpe Park, just down the road. We almost did it last year, but we were tired after our usual hike, and this year we decided to include it first, not knowing what it would be like.
Al showing us the route we would take (picture by Melanie)
Sharpe Park isn't a long hike, but not being sure whether or not we would need our trekking poles, we took them with us, and I'm glad we did. There were some places that were quite challenging, with lots of ups and downs, and some places where we were quite close to cliffs.
A beautiful spot that needed careful footing
We marveled at the beauty all around us, on a day when any moment we expected the sun to pop through the low clouds, but the temperature was pretty perfect for hiking and nobody minded much that we didn't get a chance to shed our warm clothes. It's always nice to find a new wonderful place not far from home.
Looking out at Puget Sound
We took the trail from Sares Head, a short distance from the parking lot, to a more challenging part of the area, something called "Broom-Tomb Loop" and "Porpoise Point," which gave us quite a bit of up and down to deal with, along with some exposure. From the sign near the trailhead:
There are several other trails bisecting the park, some of which are along difficult terrain and require greater mobility. ... The trail is for skilled trail users and wanders close to the water's edge. Walk along the headlands' rim, setting your eyes beyond the kelp beds, where Harbor Porpoises are often dipping and weaving as they search for smelt.
We didn't see any porpoises (at least I don't think we did),  but we did see lots of other wonderful sights, such as many incredibly healthy madrone trees in the park. I took several pictures of them, and I have a couple of favorites. This is one of them.
Madrone trees with their peeling bark
These trees are native to the Pacific Northwest. Learn all about them here. I have seen them on many of my hikes over the years, but today the beautiful trees I saw just amazed me with their incredible beauty. The red bark peels away to reveal the soft, smooth tree trunk, inviting you to stroke it to enjoy the velvety feeling. For me, of all the joys of today's new find, the madrone trees were the highlight.
A magnificent tree, even the dead branches
I just had to share one more picture of another madrone, this one with a few branches that have turned white and are obviously dead, but others that reach for the sky with renewed energy. It was wonderful to see so many of these trees that are obviously far enough from human interference to continue to grow and flourish.
Bouquets of pretty moss
We also saw lots of this pretty light-green moss (on the left) that carpeted the sides of the hillsides on the trail. We don't know yet what it is, exactly, but we thought maybe it would be soft, but once we found that it's a bit on the springy side, we called it "loofa moss." It sure is abundant, and we enjoyed seeing it in its amazing beauty. And then it was time to head to Bowman Bay for lunch, a place we know and have appreciated for years.
Our lunch spot
As you can see from our attire we were not very warm as we enjoyed our lunch, looking out at Bowman Bay, just a short drive from Sharpe Park. Once we finished our lunch, we walked out to the area beyond the pier to what we call Lighthouse Point. There is no longer a lighthouse there, but it's a lovely area where we have often stopped for lunch, but today it was our after-lunch excursion.
Deception Pass Bridge in the distance
As you can see here, we were on the Fidalgo Island side of the bridge, and once we walked out to the point, we made our way back to the Bowman Bay area to end our day's adventure. We stopped when we saw what seemed to be something in the water: over and over we saw either sea otters or some other creature in abundance.
Use your imagination, what are those creatures?
We saw many heads popping up beside that white buoy, and at first we thought it was a lone sea otter, but before long we realized we saw as many as eight of them at once! On the way home we tried to figure out what we saw, but as you can see from this poor attempt at a capture, we just don't know what we saw. They seemed to be having fun, though, just as we were.

It was a truly delightful day, with a small contingent of my favorite Trailblazers, where we covered what for us is not much distance of just under six miles, but a new place to discover and enjoy, and a trip for us to cherish. It could not have been much more perfect.


  1. It looks and sounds like a great day!

  2. You had a good day, being so close to the edge on a high cliff would have turned me around! I am glad you had a fun day with your friend and a new place to explore! :)

  3. Looks like another great hike! That moss looks like Reindeer Moss - if it were here in Ontario.

  4. So glad you didn't have the snow and hail squalls we had down around here today.
    I always get excited about exploring new places.

  5. The animals look like seals? It's always interesting to hike a new area. I see these trees on Van Island and I think they are called arbutus. I'm wondering if they are the same. I think I just gave myself some homework.

  6. What wonderful views! I love hiking along the coast - always something different to see.

  7. I didn't think there were any new areas left for you to explore. What a nice treat. Could have done with out the cliff hugging but the rest looked like great fun. Can't make out the creatures but I'd lean towards otters.

  8. Variety is the spice of life. Nice to see new photos of a new area.

  9. What a gorgeous and yes adventurous spot. Cliff edges and treacherous footing don't work for me anymore unhappily with my vertigo. Oh well I can still enjoy your pictures...:)

  10. Makes a change from the mountain scenery to see you by the water's edge. There were so many different things to see, I hope you go back again and find out what was playing in the water although I am sure you must be right that it was otters.

  11. Now I'm sure this would definitely be one of my favorite hiking trails! Such beauty...and a challenging walk along the sheer cliffs...amazing.

  12. The beauty of mother nature never ceases to amaze me. Thanks for sharing these beautiful pics!

  13. Looks beautiful, but gives me vertigo!

  14. What a lovely hike. I see you changed your profile photo. Gorgeous!


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